The new US intel report on the 2020 election — written by people who worked under Trump — destroys his lies about election fraud and Chinese interference. And it exposes him, in effect, as a Russian asset.

Here's a short thread with the key findings ...
The main conclusion mirrors 2016: "Putin authorized, and a range of Russian government organizations conducted, influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden's candidacy and the Democratic Party [and] supporting former President Trump."

But there's more to the story.
The report says Russian agents used Trump's buddies to "launder" their fake stories about Biden. Giuliani, Don Jr., Nunes and Jordan played along. Trump kept spreading the planted stories even after he was told Giuliani had been "worked by Russian assets."
Overlooked gem: The report mocks insinuations by Trump’s lawyers that Hugo Chavez, who died in 2013, somehow rigged Trump’s defeat.

"We have no information," it notes, that "current or former Venezuelan regimes were involved in attempts to compromise US election infrastructure."
The report shreds Trump's spin that China feared him. It argues that Beijing saw him as weak, since he "would alienate US partners," whereas Biden "would pose a greater challenge over the long run because he would be more successful in mobilizing a global alliance against China."
Trump duplicated Putin's anti-democratic propaganda. "Russia’s online ... actors sought to amplify mistrust in the electoral process by denigrating mail-in ballots, highlighting alleged irregularities, and accusing the Democratic Party of voter fraud."

Trump peddled the same BS.
Bottom line: "Trump was a tool in a long-running Russian campaign to weaken the United States." And his persistence in spreading Russian-planted lies — even after he was told that's what they were, by his own NSA — makes him "an agent of a foreign power."

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More from @saletan

14 Feb
Chris Wallace: "Does Donald Trump bear any responsibility for the attack on the Capitol?"

@LindseyGrahamSC: "No. In terms of the law, no... The speech on Jan. 6 was not an incitement ... I don't think he caused the riot ... Did he incite this riot by his speech? Absolutely not."
Graham on the case against Trump: "The trial record was a complete joke, hearsay upon hearsay."

On @HerreraBeutler's story that Trump, during the riot, said the attackers cared more about the election than McCarthy did: "It doesn’t tell me a whole lot, because it’s all hearsay."
Graham says Harris is as guilty as Trump: “If you use this model, I don’t know how Kamala Harris doesn’t get impeached if the Republicans take over the House. Because she actually bailed out rioters, and one of the rioters went back to the streets and broke somebody’s head open.”
Read 4 tweets
7 Feb
On Fox, @Liz_Cheney says even if senators don't convict Trump, the "criminal investigation" of Jan. 6 will examine, e.g., "whether the tweet that he sent out calling Vice President Pence a coward while the attack was underway ... was a premeditated effort to provoke violence." /1
Cheney unloads: "The extent to which the president, President Trump, for months leading up to Jan. 6, spread the notion that the election had been stolen, or that the election was rigged, was a lie. ... We need to make sure that we as Republicans are the party of truth." /2
Cheney continues: "President Trump claimed for months that the election was stolen, and then apparently set about to do everything he could to steal it himself."

On Jan. 6: "We’ve never seen that kind of an assault by a president ... on another branch of government." /3
Read 5 tweets
6 Feb
Does NYT apply consistent standards when evaluating alleged racial or sexual misconduct? Or does it switch standards based on internal pressure?

Regardless of what the right standard is, these cases suggest pressure, not principle, is driving outcomes. /1
McNeil says he used a slur only in the context of attributing it to someone else, and only when that incident was raised by another person.

I don't know how accurate that account (below) is. But after hearing it and other evidence, @deanbaquet decided he shouldn't be fired. /2 Image
On Jan. 28, Baquet wrote: “it did not appear to me that his intentions were hateful or malicious. ... in such cases people should be told they were wrong and given another chance.”

On Feb. 5, Baquet wrote that McNeil's resignation was “the right next step.”

What changed? /3
Read 7 tweets
24 Jan
Birx confirms on FTN that the White House censored her on COVID: "I was not able to do national press."

@margbrennan: "Do you think the administration was suppressing vital information to win the election?"

Birx: "I don’t know what their motivation was."
Birx says she and her HHS aide were the "only two people who regularly wore a mask in the White House."

She says she knew the US was repeating a mistake from the HIV epidemic: "If you’re only looking for sick people, you miss a lot of what is really happening under the surface."
.@margbrennan notes that after a CDC official in late February warned of community spread, Fauci said on TV that "the risk to Americans remains low."

Birx describes her reaction: "I’m in South Africa. We’re yelling at the... television, saying, 'This is going to be a pandemic!'"
Read 4 tweets
31 Dec 20
Highlights from NYT's big COVID story:

1) After Atlas arrived in August and said COVID deaths were overstated, Trump "often [told] aides that the real number of dead was no more than 10,000."

He dismissed about 95% of attributed deaths as fake news. /1
2) Azar, Kushner, Hicks, and pollster Tony Fabrizio lobbied Trump to wear and promote masks. They showed him evidence that masks worked and that Republicans supported mask mandates.

Who talked Trump out of it? Meadows and Stephen Miller. They told him, "The base will revolt." /2 Image
3) In multiple meetings, Trump explicitly opposed testing on the grounds that it exposed infections, thereby making him look bad and hurting his reelection chances. In debate prep, He told Kushner, "I’m going to lose. And it’s going to be your fault, because of the testing." /3
Read 6 tweets
5 Dec 20
The GOP is in the grip of insurrectionists. It's controlled by a president who's trying to overthrow an election, and a base that's rallying in streets to threaten coups and civil war.

The match hasn't been struck yet. But here are some warning signs. /1
The president has demanded direct intervention in the election:

- Millions of votes for Biden, because they were counted outside the view of GOP partisans, must be nullified
- “the results of the individual swing states must be overturned ... immediately.” /2
Trump is rejecting Biden's legitimacy:

“Biden can only enter the White House as President if he can prove that his ridiculous ‘80,000,000 votes’ were not fraudulently or illegally obtained”

Biden “cannot be considered ‘president’” and should be called “presidential occupant” /3
Read 9 tweets

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